The European Commission (EC) has unconditionally supported Romanian telecoms regulator ANCOM’s decision made in November to deregulate the wholesale market for local broadband access network services. After the EC acknowledged the decision without further comment, ANCOM’s ruling entered into force on 29 December 2015 upon its publication in Romania’s Official Gazette. As reported by CommsUpdate in November, ANCOM has withdrawn the wholesale obligations previously imposed on incumbent Telekom Romania Communications in the fixed broadband network access market, having ruled that the PSTN operator no longer has significant market power (SMP) in the segment. The watchdog scrapped the previous SMP obligations it placed on Telekom Romania (formerly RomTelecom) in 2010, after its analysis concluded that the retail fixed internet access market has strong infrastructure-based competition, therefore determining that ex-ante regulation in the corresponding wholesale market is no longer necessary, and the EC fully endorsed this conclusion. For existing wholesale contracts, Telekom must continue to honour obligations of transparency, non-discrimination, granting access and tariff control regarding its local loop infrastructure-based broadband services for a transitional one-year period.
In making its decision, ANCOM rejected lobbying from Orange Romania and Vodafone Romania (chiefly mobile providers also offering fixed services), which unsuccessfully argued that wholesale broadband access obligations should be imposed on Romania’s fixed broadband market leader by retail subscribers, cableco/fibre operator RCS&RDS.
Meanwhile, as reported in December by CommsUpdate, Orange Romania and Telekom Romania concluded two years of closed-doors negotiations early that month with a commercial wholesale agreement allowing Orange to offer fixed services via Telekom’s nationwide local access infrastructure.